How to style an autumn farm table?

table de ferme automnale autumn French table setting

Autumn is certainly the season when we should all be outdoors enjoying the beauty it has to offer, roaming the woods to unearth small natural decorations for the home, spending more time on creative projects, or taking the time to go to the market and try out new recipes. For me, autumn represents the beginning of the end-of-year festivities, and I like to take the time to enjoy all the gourmet and creative options available to us, and to share them around an autumn farm table.

table de ferme automnale autumn French table setting

Because we have an abundance of produce at this time of year to cook good meals that can be tasty and hearty yet simple to make. If you’re lucky enough to have a farm that sells to the public near you, go and pick up some pumpkins or other pumpkins to make good soups, and pick up a few more in different shapes and colors to decorate the house. I buy a lot (too much), but it’s one of my little pleasures, and this type of decoration immediately sets the tone for my home. What’s more, why deprive yourself of them since they’ll end up being cooked?

That’s how I came up with the idea of creating a farm table setting inspired by North American harvest festivals. I used to live in New England, and as soon as autumn arrived, it was off to the farms to pick apples or pumpkins (the famous Pumpkin Patch). Afterwards, we’d gather around a picnic table with a glass of hot cider. The setting was idyllic: an outbuilding on the farm was set up as a temporary refreshment bar. There was no beautiful red barn nearby, but the inspiration was there to recreate a table d’abondance with seasonal fruits and vegetables as the main theme, in a bucolic, autumnal setting. I wanted to create a very rustic and convivial setting, more in the style of a buffet.


The idea is to use this type of decor to place the dishes you’ve prepared for an autumn buffet. All guests have to do is help themselves. To start with, a wooden table is a good base, even more so if it’s sturdy enough, with a country feel that’s full of character. If you don’t have one, use what you’ve got and cover the table with a checkered tablecloth, which will work just fine. Here, I’ve carelessly laid a tartan plaid on one side – you can also arrange plaids for your guests on straw bales. We’re never safe from a little chill, even if straw keeps the heat in! An unpretentious table that encourages family and friends to share the harvest, laugh heartily, drink cider or mulled wine and celebrate the most beautiful of seasons.

Large pumpkins are stacked on top and placed on the ground, and fruit (in abundance) is placed in wooden baskets or crates. A few lanterns decorate the setting, as do jars of green tomato jam, a reminder of the « home-made on the farm » aspect.

In the same way as my Italian-style table last summer, the idea here is to create a large buffet with a decor that will enhance the dishes you’re about to serve. What also works well visually is to set these dishes at different heights using wooden logs. I saw many of these on sale in garden centers in early autumn. You can stack them and play with the heights while retaining that rustic spirit. I also use them to vary the height of the candles. They’re indispensable little accessories that I’ll use all year round, especially for my holiday tables.


In one corner of the table, place an attractive stack of antique crockery, glasses and cutlery. Guests can help themselves to the dishes, and then sit down nearby around square tables (you can easily make your own from trestles), which you can cover with checkered tablecloths. With two or more straw bales for seating, they can enjoy the simple pleasures of rural life, and make the most of autumn in a warm, friendly atmosphere.

This autumnal farm table theme is dedicated to seasonal produce, so here’s a delicious, gourmet recipe for homemade pumpkin soup.

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